We don’t know the names or the clubs of the 11 volunteer bushwalkers who left the Russell Street Police Headquarters in 2 trucks early on Friday 6 May 1949 for Port Welshpool. There they boarded a fishing ketch and were landed on the east coast of Wilsons Promontory to join the large search for a missing bushwalker.
This was the first occasion volunteer bushwalkers organised through the Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs (now Bushwalking Victoria) assisted in a bush search.
Senior Police were very impressed with the skill and independence of these bushwalkers and encouraged the Federation to establish a formal search and rescue section. Several clubs made this a reality soon after this search when they formed the Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs Search and Rescue Section.
The search for Alfred Howie, a solo walker missing at Wilsons Promontory, commenced on 6 May 1949. No trace of him was ever found.
In the early years, members were called out in response to a request for assistance from Victoria Police by a club-based telephone tree. Searchers assembled at the Russell Street Police Headquarters in a basement hall.
Bill Brand, former Officer in Charge of the Search and Rescue Squad, passed away on the morning of Monday the 17th of September 2018. Bill Brand was one of the founding members of the Search and Rescue Squad and served at all ranks up to Inspector until his retirement in the mid-1980’s.
Bill Brand was a great friend and supporter of BSAR.
The funeral service was held at Heritage Funerals, 733 Boronia Rd Wantirna, at 10 am on Tuesday the 2nd October 2018.
2 October 2018, by Duncan Brookes
Thank you to the Brand family for the opportunity to pay tribute to Bill on behalf of the bushwalkers; “The Bushies”.
BSAR’s annual training weekend was held on 23-24 June 2018 at Chewton, with 28 members, 23 prospective members and 6 Police Search and Rescue attending in delightful June weather.
On Saturday our new and prospective members completed an induction session while experienced members participated in group leader scenarios covering hypothermia treatment, stretcher carry and helicopter evacuation.
The afternoon moved to the focus of this training; navigation. Skills were developed and practiced with the GPS and in bush navigation using map and compass. The evening included a night navigation session to put those skills to the test.